I always like to start with something personal, so please bear it with me!
I was raised in a “normal-happy” Christian home. I won’t say we were conservative or ‘orthodox” Christians, but modesty in both behavior and clothing was always stressed as matters of the highest importance for the family. In particular, my mother made sure we understood that we should never wear sheer dresses, clothes that are too tight or those which leave very little to the imagination. But, we were allowed to wear pants – like not in the house but also in the church. However, it was extremely confusing when I heard that some Christians believe it is a sin for women to wear pants.
I have never been in this situation myself, but back then, I met a Christian girl at school who had never worn pants in her life. It caused me a lot of grief to see her dressed in a skirt for PE classes and sometimes not able to participate in school sports. I then realized that she would dismiss every Christian girl who’d wear pants as a sinner or spiritually immature.
In all the churches that I’ve been to in 22 years, I’ve seen many asking women to wear scarves on their heads and have discouraged low crop tops or clothes with obscene messages or graphic imagery. Honestly, I agree that a church isn’t a fashion show or a place to attract attention. However, coming from a Christian who has been taught a lot about Biblical scriptures, I’m sure that it’s not spiritually wrong to wear pants as a girl.
I’m aware that many believers think that God doesn’t care about the type of clothes they wear; He wouldn’t even bother if they walked through life completely naked. That’s partially wrong! Remember what God said in Matthew 18: 5-7 and 1 Peter 3: 2-5. God won’t condemn you for wearing anything, but He will “care” if you are intentionally offering some “skin parade.”
I wasn’t going to write on why it’s not a sin for women to wear pants today, but I felt the Holy Spirit move me to. So, let’s proceed!
Where Does the Bible Talk About Women and Pants?
I know many Christian women believe that this spiritual restriction is utter crap – no offense – and that some denominations intentionally forbid women to wear pants because this helps them in suppressing women.
Unfortunately, that “law” was not made up by men because there is indeed a passage in the Old Testament that many use to address this issue of women wearing pants/trousers/jeans.
In Deuteronomy 22: 5, we can read, “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.”
As far as I know, modern jeans only became popular in the 1800s.So, the question is, how can God talk about women not wearing pants and jeans when they were not even a part of Biblical times?
This Biblical passage has nothing to do with pants, but more about something related to how men and women should behave. Back then, it was God’s command for Israel to maintain gender distinctions in their dress code. This Biblical scripture more specifically addresses transvertism and cross-dressing. And, this Biblical principle applies to today’s society.
The modern western culture’s acceptance of cross-dressing has resulted largely from the influence of fashion shows, globalization and Hollywood. The scripture’s basic point is that men should be men and women should be women. Men should be dressed in an appropriate masculine way while women should be dressed in a feminine manner.
So, basically, nowhere in the Bible does God intend for the scriptures to be understood in an extreme way that prohibits women from wearing pants. God’s word focus is rather on dressing modestly and wearing clothes in ways that do not cause others to stumble.